What you need to know about your ride "queue" when that attraction shuts down for hours

EPCOT'S Spaceship Earth glows blue under a full moon. Image courtesy Brian Miller
EPCOT'S Spaceship Earth glows blue under a full moon. Image courtesy Brian Miller /

Sometimes, things don't go according to plan when you are visiting a Disney World park. In fact, more often than not. What happens when your ride queue is stalled?

You wake up at 6:30 in the morning so you can get your family a queue slot on Tron: Lightcyle Run or Guardian of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Maybe you are in one of the two parks at 1:00 pm when the next queue chance opens up.

Then, all heck breaks loose and you are literally wondering if you will get to ride it all. Why? Because the ride is out of service or broken down.

Recently, I was at EPCOT when that very thing happened at Cosmic Rewind. I had a late slot but the ride went down somewhere around noon and by 5:00 it was still not working. I wondered if it was going to come back at all on that day. At 6:00 the ride started boarding again.

For my son and I, we scampered over at 7:45 when our queue was close to being called. The line was incredibly long.

Here is what will happen when a ride shuts down at Disney World and your queue places passes.

When the ride began taking guests and the queue was once again active, everyone whose previous slot was called is activated all at the same time. In this case, on this day, there were guests in line with previous queues of 54 all the way up 118. It made for a line that stretched out of the building, past the scan entry point, and around the corner deep toward the back of the building.

We got in line despite not having our number called. We understood that the line was going to be a while but surprisingly we found out that as we moved closer to scanning our cards to enter they were not on our queue number yet.

What happens if you are in line for a Disney World queue and your queue is not called?

It is important to understand that if there is a long line to get onto either ride and you try to enter before your queue number is called, you will not be permitted to stand and wait and allow others to go before you. You will be directed to the back of the line. On this day, it was quite long, at least 20 minutes to just get past the ticket scanner.

So what can you do? While in line, allow those behind you with earlier queue numbers to pass you up and keep doing so until your number is called. We managed to do this for about 10 minutes and when our number was finally called to enter, we had only a couple of minutes wait to get to the scanners and into the next phase of the line.

Cast members are not allowed to provide you with other information regarding rides being down. At Hollywood Studios, we were on Rise of the Resistance when it was shut down. We were escorted out of the ride through the cast member break hallway. At the exit, we were offered a "Fast Pass" for another ride but not ROTR.

A cast member told us that the "Fast Pass" needed to be used that day and could not use it the next day.

When I asked the Cosmic Rewind cast member what would happen if the ride did not come back up and I had a queue slot, he simply said I would have to try again to get a queue tomorrow. I heard from another cast member not associated with the ride that day, that they will under some circumstances offer a "fast pass" for another ride but I was not able to get other cast members to confirm or deny that.

It is literally a situation-by-situation, well, situation. At least now you know that if the ride is down and your queue has passed, you can still get on it when it comes back up later in the day...if it does.